As we age, maintaining our mobility becomes more and more important for our overall health. For many older adults, walkers provide the support necessary to move around independently and safely. With different types and brands available, choosing the right type of walker for your needs can be difficult. In this article, we'll go over the different types of walkers to help you choose the perfect one for you! 

Understanding the different types of walkers

There are different types of walker to meet the needs of people with various health conditions and needs. You should talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or other medical provider to decide what you need from a walker and which type will be best for you. 

Below, we go into the details and outline the benefits of different types of walkers.

Standard walkers

A standard walker is also sometimes referred to as a pickup walker. Standard walkers usually have a metal frame with four rubber-tipped legs. They don’t come with  wheels. Instead, you have to lift it to use it. Standard walkers come with their own unique benefits. First, they’re lightweight and portable, making it easy to travel with them. They also help people maintain an upright posture while providing weight bearing support. 

It's important to note that standard walkers are most suitable for individuals with good upper body strength and balance. 

Rollator walkers

Rollators, also known as rolling or wheeled walkers, are similar to standard walkers but with wheels on all four legs. These walkers are good for individuals who need additional support and stability when walking because the wheels make them easier to maneuver and reduce the effort it takes to move forward. Rollators are also suitable for people who get fatigued quickly because they usually have fold-down seats that you can use to rest during walks. 

Knee walkers

Knee walkers, or knee scooters, are a great option for people who have lower leg injuries or are recovering from surgery. Knee walkers are different from other types of walkers because they are designed to only support one leg at a time while allowing the user to push themselves forward with their other leg. Some features include a padded knee platform, wheels, and handlebars for steering. If you are looking for a way to get around without putting weight on an injured leg, a knee walker might be the walker for you! 

Factors to consider when choosing walkers for seniors

When choosing a walker, it's essential to consider your lifestyle and mobility needs. Some other factors to consider when choosing a walker for seniors include:

  • Ease of use and maneuverability—wheel walkers make moving around easier but can pose challenges on uneven surfaces

  • Stability and safety features—hand brakes and hand grips

  • Adjustability for comfort—fold-down seats and height adjustments

  • Portability and storage options—a folding walker is easier to fit in small spaces

  • Budget considerations—extra features like a storage pouch and a comfortable seat can increase your costs

Tips for trying and testing walkers

Before committing to a walker, you should explore your options. Start by consulting with your healthcare provider to determine which type of walker is best for your needs. Once you know which type of walker is best for you, visit a local medical supply store or pharmacy to see the different models in person. Practice walking with different walkers. When practicing, make sure to adjust the height and handlebars of each walker. It's important to take your time to ensure you feel comfortable and confident with the walker. Finally, test your walker on different surfaces, like carpet, tile, and outdoor surfaces. This will help you evaluate how easy the model is to maneuver.

The best walkers on the market

We did the research, and these are some of the best walkers on the market in terms of function and price! Of course, there’s no best walker for everyone. We recommend you do your own research and work with your doctor to find the right walker for your specific needs.

The Drive Durable 4-Wheel Rollator is good for both indoor and outdoor use. It comes with a storage basket, padded seating, and adjustable handles to make it a great walker for daily use.

Features include:

  • A padded seat

  • A pouch to store personal items

  • 7.5in casters

  • Steel frame, allowing for 300lb weight capacity

  • Adjustable handle height and angle

  • A removable, padded backrest

This Vive Health Rollator Walker is a bit unique because of its 3-wheel design. The design makes it more narrow, allowing you to better navigate in tight spaces, like narrow hallways. It also has a lightweight, yet durable frame that makes it easier to maneuver. 

Features include:

  • Lightweight frame

  • Secure hand brakes

  • Adjustable handle height

  • Foldability

  • Large storage bag

A cross between a standard walker and a wheeled walker, the Drive Deluxe Trigger Release Folding Walker has two wheels in the front and two standard legs in the back. It’s more minimalistic than the other two walkers featured, but is a great, inexpensive option for use primarily indoors. 

Features include:

  • Trigger release fit for people with limited finger dexterity

  • Soft, contoured hand grip

  • Rear glide caps that allow for use on all surfaces

  • Lightweight, aluminum frame

  • 5-inch front wheels

Maintaining and caring for walkers

Walkers need a little bit of maintenance to ensure they last for as long as possible. Here are some tips for maintaining your walker:

  • Clean your walker regularly to remove dirt or debris. Accumulation in the walker's wheels can make it more difficult to use.

  • Inspect the walker regularly for signs of wear and tear. 

  • Replace any worn or damaged parts to ensure the walker remains safe and functional.

  • When not in use, store the walker in a dry, indoor location to protect it from the elements and minimize the risk of damage.

Medicare coverage for walkers and other mobility devices

Once you've met your Part B deductible, Medicare will pay 80% of the cost of medically necessary mobility aids, including walkers. If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, that cost may be reduced depending on your plan benefits. However, there are several requirements to get mobility devices covered by Medicare. Check with your healthcare provider’s billing department to get a sense of how much you’ll have to pay for your walker. 

Still have questions about if Medicare will cover your walker and how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket? We're here to help! Call us at (855) 900-2427 to get your questions answered.

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